Can I paint a single yellow stripe down the center of a highway just for guidance?

A single yellow line is no longer allowed to be used as a centerline marking. Section 3B.01 of the MUTCD covers Yellow Center Line Pavement Markings and it states:

“A single solid yellow line shall not be used as a center line marking on a two-way roadway.”

Highway 366 near Cornell University, showing a double yellow centerline

Chapter 10 in the Traffic Sign Handbook explains when and where center line markings should be used, but here is a quick summary.

Center line pavement markings are required:

Center line pavement markings are recommended:

Center line pavement markings are not recommended:

The NYS Supplement does allow short segments of center line markings as an option (see text below).

Option:
On roadways without continuous center line pavement markings, short sections may be marked with center line pavement markings to control the position of traffic at specific locations, such as around curves, over hills, on approaches to grade crossings, at grade crossings, at bridges, and on approaches to intersections.

The proper marking is a double yellow line in those cases.

Before you remove an existing marking, be sure to document why you have done so and that doing so will not decrease public safety.

Resources

Cover of the Traffic Sign Handbook

Traffic Sign Handbook for Local Roads, 2011 New York State Edition, September 2011 (pdf)

Section 3B.01 Yellow Center Line Pavement Markings and Warrants
Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD)
FHWA

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This work by the Cornell Local Roads Program (CLRP) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.